BOISE STATE VS. NEW MEXICO
Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 11th at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Television: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports App
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KBOI 93.1 FM (Bronco Radio Network)
Head-to-Head: Boise State leads the all-time series 12-1. The only win for the Lobos came back in 2015 when they came to The Blue and defeated the Broncos 31-24. The last time these teams met, Boise State walked out of Albuquerque with a win, 31-14.
Tale of the Tape
- Well...it happened.
Maddux Madsen, after playing a majority of snaps for the last few weeks, was officially named the starter Friday.
To no surprise, Andy Avalos made it clear that both Madsen and Taylen Green will play, but I need to see it to believe it.
“MadDog” is a gamer and a gutsy player, but his inexperience has shown up in recent weeks, forcing the ball into risky positions and getting away with it. It looks as if this is the route Boise State plans to take going forward, leaving many questions surrounding Taylen Green’s future with the Broncos.
That is, if there is any future in Boise.
- We still don’t know if Ashton Jeanty will return to the field this week after being sidelined with a lower body injury. If not, George Holani and the combination of Kaden Dudley and Breezy Dubar will have to step up and fill the void.
- The biggest news of the week in the Treasure Valley is that Boise State’s #1 receiver, Eric McAlister, is no longer with the program and is planning on entering the transfer portal once it opens. This is a huge blow for the Broncos as McAlister had accumulated 873 yards and five touchdowns in 2023.
Not only was he having a great season, but he was the only one that was putting up consistent numbers.
The next closest receiver?
Stefan Cobbs with 241 yards and one touchdown.
- New Mexico is led by UAB transfer Dylan Hopkins. In 2023, Hopkins has totaled 1,825 passing yards, 11 TDs, and seven interceptions. While he is primarily a pocket passer, he can beat you with his legs if given green grass to run through.
- In the backfield, the Lobos rely on senior Jacory Croskey-Merritt. At 5-11, Croskey-Merritt is the bell cow for Danny Gonzales’ offense, racking up over 120 carries and 12 TDs.
- For Boise State, there isn’t one receiver that the defense can key in on. The top three Lobo receivers (Jeremiah Hixon, Caleb Medford, and DJ Washington) all have between 320 and 360 receiving yards.
- Just as Boise State’s defense looked to be getting in line, they give up 37 points and over 400 yards to Fresno State.
It’s fair to say that the performance against Wyoming was a flash in the pan, not a turning of the corner.
- On the defensive line, Tyler Wegis and Demitri Washington are the only two that may not suit up. Luckily, Ahmed Hassenein, Herbert Gums, Michael Callahan and Sheldon Newton are more than capable of stepping up and showing out.
- At linebacker, Andrew Simpson continues to shine while DJ Schramm and Jayden Virgin have been great as a duo. However, leading tackler Marco Notarainni missed last week’s contest against Fresno State and it is uncertain if he will be able to go.
- The only turnover Boise State forced last week was by way of a Seyi Oladipo interception. Other than that, the secondary still got fried relatively easily.
- New Mexico’s defense has been subpar to say the least.
They have given up 52, 52, and 56 points.
Two of those were by way of fellow Mountain West opponents in San Jose State and UNLV.
- The top two sack leaders (Kyler Drake and Mihalis Santorineos) for the Lobos only have 1.5 sacks to their names. Not much of a pass rush from those in Albuquerque.
- When it comes to interceptions, UNM has only forced three this entire season.
If there is a game that Maddux Madsen can get the kinks out before the Broncos fight for bowl eligibility, this is it.
- Same old, same old when it comes to Boise State’s unit. Other than the squib kick fiasco last week, Jonah Dalmas and James Ferguson-Reynolds are stars on an otherwise middling Bronco team.
Someone does need to explain to me how Dalmas didn’t get on the Lou Groza semifinalist list.
At least Ferguson-Reynolds got the nod for the Ray Guy award.
- New Mexico will trot on Luke Drzewiecki for field goals. He is 6-8 with a long of 47 yards in 2023. As for punting, Aaron Rodriguez will attempt to flip field position for the Lobos.
Why New Mexico Will Win
Something has hit the fan.
Taylen Green is nowhere to be found, Ashton Jeanty doesn’t play, and the absence of Eric McAlister is magnified.
We have seen in 2023 that the talent of Boise State can overcome the coaching that has made this season difficult to witness. If the Lobos were to win on The Blue, Maddux Madsen will not be talked about in a positive light, deserved or not.
I’m rambling about how the Broncos will lose this game rather than New Mexico winning it, but I don’t envision a scenario where the Lobos win this game without Boise State giving it away.
Why Boise State Will Win
The offensive line will allow Holani and company to dominate on the ground and control the clock. This will give Madsen a chance to make some nice throws to long receivers like Austin Bolt and Prince Strachan, opening up the game in both facets.
Defensively, the secondary doesn’t have to face an all-conference receiver. When there isn’t lightning speed outside the hashes, the backline can hang in there. Also, the defensive line, led by Ahmed Hassenein, is able to put pressure on Dylan Hopkins and force him to get the ball out early.
Let James Ferguson-Reynolds get ahold of a few monster punts and this game could get ugly quickly.
Spread: Boise State -27.5 (-110), New Mexico +27.5 (—110)
Total: 60.5 points (-110 for the over and the under)
Straight Up Money Line: Boise State -4000, New Mexico +1600
Boise State may be down right now, but this is similar to the danger scenario that played out earlier this season when North Dakota came to town.
Everyone saw the potential for the sky to fall if the unthinkable happened...but it didn’t and the Broncos won despite the issues revolving around the program.
I expect this to play out the same way.
Boise State wins and becomes one W away from extending their bowl eligibility streak to 26 consecutive seasons.